Dating apps provide new ways to connect

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by AMY ROBACH / CNBC

KING5.com

Posted on February 14, 2012 at 6:33 PM

Twenty-five-year-old Alicia and her two friends are meeting up for drinks at a popular New York City Bar. She's single and looking to meet someone. She's also tech savvy and recently discovered a cutting edge smart phone application that puts online dating in the palm of her hand.

They’re scrolling through mobile dating profiles on a free app called "Skout," one of dozens being used by more than 14 million American daters on the go.

“Roughly half our users are using it for flirting and dating and, you know, checking out who's around, said Christian Wiklund, who launched Skout in 2007.

Many of these apps use GPS technology to connect their users to other mobile daters who are nearby.

As mobile dating catches on,  mobile dating companies are cashing in. Generating more than $200 million in revenue in 2011 and expected to hit nearly half a billion by 2016.

For those daters in the trenches, it's all about being open to new ways to connect.

“I think it's no different from meeting someone from an app than if you meet them at the grocery store,” said Alicia. Instead of being, like, "Great, can you hand me that macaroni and cheese box, you're gonna be, like, "Wanna buy me a drink since we're at the bar now.’”

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